Physical ergonomics of distance running footwear. In Human factors and ergonomics in sport: applications and future directions. 1st ed. (Book Chapter)
- Physical Activity, Sport and Health
Physical ergonomics of distance running footwear is a hotly debated topic of discussion. This chapter focuses on recreational distance running and the role of footwear on performance and, especially, protection against injury. Running economy is the surrogate measure of choice to evaluate distance running performance. Shoes with a mass lower than 220g induce the lowest oxygen cost per kilometre and may thus optimise performance. The role of shoe technology on injury prevention is scientifically controversial, in contrast to popular belief. Recommendations based on solid evidence are sparse and include avoiding radical changes in footwear type used and having some degree of motion control in cushioned shoes (as with most “standard” models). Shoes with low heel-to-toe drop are safe for occasional runners, while the role of cushioning is still unclear. Athlete education for optimal self-management is key for performance and injury prevention.